Friday, July 29, 2011

Learning Season: The Passport to Puerto Rico and Possibilities

Imagine getting to travel to Puerto Rico to learn more about networking, resume-building, and personal branding. It’s the perfect example of business mixed with pleasure.

That’s what two UWG students got to do recently. Two officers of the UWG chapter of National

Society of Collegiate Scholars, Abla Sogbo and Alexandra Taylor, recently traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico for the NSCS National Convention: “Your Passport to Possibilities.”

“Puerto Rico is beautiful, clean, with a lot of fountains. There’s water everywhere!...They have a great night life,” said Sgobo.

Taylor reflected Sgobo, commenting that she would love to go back to see more.

“I loved Puerto Rico for what I saw of it. I didn't get to see as much as I would have liked to, but it was still very beautiful. The food is delicious, too” said Taylor. Taylor also spoke about their chance to salsa dance with residents, which she loved. “Salsa dancing is so much fun. It is so amazing to watch them salsa dance. It seems like it comes so naturally. It's so graceful the way that they salsa dance.”

While most would be excited about the trip because of its location, it seems that these two may have appreciated what the convention had to offer more than the location.

“I value that trip very much. It didn’t have to be in Puerto Rico and I would have still enjoyed it. The information I got, the tools I gained and the networking I did were great. I would not have been able to get those tools on my own,” said Taylor, the UWG chapter’s vice president.

The convention was held June 16 -19; however, since Sogbo, the chapter’s president, and Taylor were officers, they arrived an extra day earlier for a special session specific to officers. The convention aimed to help all members better prepare themselves for their post-graduation life, while also helping officers better lead their local chapter. As part of the convention, there was a leadership summit for the officers to learn from each other. Also, attendees were able to pick from a variety of workshops on career preparation. Such workshops included resume writing, networking sessions, personal pitching, and more.

“The name of it was ‘Passport to Possibilities.’ This was a way to get things in order so that whatever it is that you want to do in life, you will be able to do it and you will have the tools to get there,” said Taylor.

“It was definitely an appropriate theme. I didn’t expect to meet the CEO of NSCS. I didn’t even expect to join this organization,” said Sogbo, explaining that her father had encouraged her to join NSCS. “I would have never thought I’d join this, become a leader, and go to Puerto Rico. Without this organization, I would not have had these opportunities.”

It’s clear that NSCS and the convention definitely served as a passport to possibility for Sogbo and Taylor. In addition to learning a lot for their personal professional careers, the two learned what to bring back to UWG in order to enhance NSCS’s presence on campus.

“Our chapter is not well-known on campus. We want to collaborate more and hold more campus-wide events,” Sogbo explained.

Taylor also wants NSCS to have a bigger impact on campus. That’s why she’s excited about the Gold Star award they received at the convention. The award is based upon the events a chapter does.

“It feels great to win the Gold Star award. Platinum Star awards are only awarded to five schools and they give scholarships to NSCS students at those campuses. We are very proud to have the award, and we plan to earn it again and soon apply for the Platinum Star award.”

To do so, they’re planning an Honors Ball in collaboration with other honor organizations and an event to motivate high school and middle school students to come to college and achieve collegiate excellence. The two officers also hope to place more emphasis on membership participation and fundraising.

In the meantime, they’ll be enjoying the memories of Puerto Rico as they work to elevate both themselves and the chapter.

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